by Craig Hickman
It was far from easy. But Rafael Nadal outbattled Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(3) 6-7(8), 6-4 in an epic 3 1/2-hour nailbiter to bring his claycourt winning streak to 76 matches. With the win, he breaks John McEnroe's 75-match winning streak on indoor carpet, and stands alone among men with the longest winning streak on a single surface in the Open Era.
This was a grueling, all-out war of attrition. Rafa was no where near his best and Kolya dictated play for most of the match with his flat deep shots that dragged the Spaniard all over the dirt. But Rafa, who arguably has the biggest heart on the men's tour, fought his nerves, his fatigue, and his relentless opponent to finally take the match on his first match point.